After they all had a good long break they finally felt decent enough to get up and make their way out of the dungeon. It was a good thing that they took the break because the moment they made their way through the teleportation glyph they were taken back into the center of the dungeon where they had to take the long never ending stairs to get back up and out of the giant hole that was the entrance to the dungeon. It had taken them nearly two hours to climb down the stairs when they were entering the dungeon so climbing out would be even longer.
The long climb gave Joshua a bit of time to think about how things went through out the entire dungeon exploration. He felt that the dungeon was more than worth all the effort and time that they put into it. It allowed the group to fight several different types of creatures with all sorts of tricks that they could come across once again in the future. They also got plenty of rewards from the dungeon, but they wouldn't really know just how much the blue prints were worth until they made it back to the hub city.
There were a few things that Joshua took from the dungeon that he felt would be extremely helpful going forward though in regards to enemies they might face in the future. The first was the fact that intelligent creatures were on an entirely different level when it came to fighting beast. It was easy to distract mindless creatures and goad them into doing exactly what you wanted. That allowed Joshua to lead the battle in the direction he wanted from the get go, but when it came to intelligent beast that idea was thrown out the window from the start of the fight. A good example of this was when they took on the spider boss. Although it was being straightforward with them and treated the fight more like a spar Joshua wasn't able to keep it from going after Cinder in the end since it ignored any of his provocations the entire fight. Luckily Cinder had a surprise for the boss at the time or the fight could have ended up a lot more challenging.
The second thing Joshua noticed was that the final boss reminded him of other haze bosses he fought in the past. The insane regeneration along with the mix of abilities that no other creatures could possibly have in the end. The entire fight was like a tutorial on how to handle a haze boss in the future. It didn't matter how much they damaged the boss in the end, they had to take care of the core or else they'd all just get outlasted. Since they were going to be taking on a haze boss soon that will be in a completely different class from the ones that they've faced in the small towns it was a good experience. Of course Joshua knew things always seemed to take a crazy turn whenever it came to taking on the haze creatures.
The last thing that Joshua took to heart while leaving the dungeon was the fact that gaining experience going forward was going to get more and more challenging. While he was in the sixties at the start of the dungeon he was basically getting a level up with each boss that he took down, but once he reached level seventy that pace slowed down immensely. The final boss didn't even give him one single level up, in fact he gained a little more than half a levels worth of experience after taking down the boss. It explained why he, Lilly, Amy, and Jayce's group all were gaining levels like crazy in comparison to all of the other members. They had gained around three levels in total from the dungeon and they were getting smaller amounts of experience with each level up.
That got Joshua to thinking about how slowed down leveling would become going forward. He'd have to face creatures at least two tiers ahead of his current level if he wanted the quick leveling pace he was getting at the start of the dungeon. That would be hard enough on its own, but the problem would occur when that two tier level difference placed the creatures he'd have to face above level one hundred. At that point he knew that he wouldn't stand a chance considering the fact that passing level one hundred was a milestone for both humans and beast alike. So the moment Joshua got into the eighties level wise his leveling was going to slow down to a grind that he wasn't going to be able to get around.
All of these thoughts were at the back of Joshua's mind as he made his way out of the dungeon finally after a few hours. The climb up the steps was tiring, but not nearly as bad as climbing down the wall or having to face the final boss, so outside of a little heavy breathing the entire group was just fine. The canyon came within sight and they all noticed that it was afternoon at this point since there was still some light out, but it was clearly dimming. Luckily they had claimed the territory now since they had taken down the dungeon so from this point forward they could ride on horseback through the canyon to reach the end of it. The dungeon was already fairly close to the end so as long as they rode on horses they could get out of the area before night fell in the canyon once more.
It took them a couple of hours before the terrain started changing as they rode up a slanted slope at the end of the canyon. Along the way the group made sure to avoid the lazy snakes that just watched them pass by. At one point Madalyn took out her pair of observation glasses and checked out one of the snakes that they had passed by. She seemed fairly disappointed by the result. It ended up only having a fifty percent compatibility with her soul beast which told the group that similar beast didn't make for the best matches.
Lilly decided to check the snakes out as well and got a seventy percent rating, but it still seemed low compared to her other beast companions that she kept around in her soul realm. The only creature Joshua had seen with a lower rating for Lilly was the lizard she had gotten all the way back in the marsh. It only had a fifty percent rating. All of her other beast companions were at least at seventy-five percent with the ones she used more often all being closer to ninety.
When they finished climbing up the slope and out of the canyon they were forced to get off of horse back as they entered an entirely new area. Joshua knew that they were now on the other side of the prairie where they had come across those level eighty- five or so bisons that were fighting each other last time through. Joshua imagined having to face a heard of those and just couldn't see himself taking them all down quite yet. He wasn't sure if those were even the most powerful creatures on this side of the prairie and he was a bit too tired to find out at the moment. He realized it was about time to head back to James Town then to the hub city. Before they could open a portal to head back a message popped up for everyone to see.
[You have entered a new level range area. Beast in this prairie have levels that can range from eighty all the way to ninety so be careful while exploring.]
Joshua was a bit surprised by the warning message, but didn't think about it too much since he knew they weren't going to go exploring into the area too much for the moment. Adrian seemed to be mad about something when he saw the message pop up. "What's wrong?" Joshua asked his longtime friend.
"It would have been nice to get this message when we crossed the canyon the first time and came across those giant bison like creatures. We could have turned back before putting ourselves in danger." Adrian said with a sigh. "Luckily we got away safely, but that won't always be the case for other groups that try similar scouting tricks.
"Well it probably only showed up now because we came through the entrance to the area." Henry said getting a nod from the others. "In the end it doesn't matter since were all too tired and out of supplies to try to check out this area anyways. Let's head back and take a break. We've got to stabilize our new levels and get geared up for the upcoming expedition."
"Henry's right, let's head home guys." Joshua said as he took his eyes off the prairie and headed for the portal with everyone following behind. The portal took them back to James Town where they were able take a large portal back to the hub city since they were in a safe area where beast couldn't get near. They found themselves back in the area of the hub city where all of the explorers would take portals to get back to earth. A lot of people in the area looked towards their group with recognition as most of the members had some fame for either being a big part of the Phoenix Guild or Serpent Guild.
They all ignored the looks as they made their way out of the area and took a door that lead them back near the guild area of the hub city. "Well I think we should all go and get some rest from here. It's been a long couple of weeks so enjoy a few days' worth of break before we start planning the large town raid." Joshua said as he stretched a bit after putting away his scale blade and other unnecessary gear. "Oh if you want to see what exactly we got from all of the blue prints then meet up with me tomorrow afternoon around noon. I plan to go get them checked out then before taking my break in full."
Most of the group nodded before going off on their own to either to go home or get their gear checked up before doing so. Joshua waived good bye as well as he and Amy made their way home to check up on their parents. It was already fairly late at night so he was sure they should both be home at this point unless their mother was taking another late shift at the hospital. When they reached home the lights were on and they could smell some food coming from the kitchen so they were both certain there mother was the one cooking. They had both tried their fathers cooking in the past and outside of meat everything he cooked turned out either bland or with the wrong texture. He could definitely barbeque though.
"Mom, Dad were home!" Amy shouted as she rushed into the house. They both could see their mother coming out of the kitchen to welcome them back. On the other side of things they could hear slamming sounds from upstairs so they were certain their father was busy in the upstairs gym for some reason.
"I'm glad you two came back safe. How did things go?" Their mother asked after giving each of them a hug. Amy proceeded to go on a long winded speech about all the things they had come across during their dungeon dive. Of course their mother interrupted whenever she felt the two of them had been to rash about things, but for the most part she seemed glad they had both come back safe and sound. The two siblings helped their mother finish dinner with Joshua helping in the kitchen and Amy setting the table and going to get their father.
That night they had a nice meal as they discussed how things went with the exploration. Amy was of course the most excited, but Joshua could tell that she was more tired than she let on by the occasional yawn. After a while Joshua decided to get some sleep since it would be the first time in weeks that he'd get a full night's rest without being on edge the entire time. Before he could even close his eyes he could hear his sister snoring across the hall as she seemed to pass out the moment her head hit the pillow. He smiled a bit before turning off the lights and closing the door. The big cozy bed just seemed to inviting.